Home / Money / Personal Finance /  Missed income tax return filing deadline? Know the penalties and option you have

The last date of filing income tax return for the financial year 2019-20 was 10 January 2021. Issuing an official order last evening, the income tax department has rejected requests for further extension of the due date for filing tax returns saying that generous extra time has already been given. The deadline was extended multiple times in the wake of the covid-19 outbreak. Generally, 31 July of the assessment year (AY) is the last date for filing the income tax return. This year it was extended 3 times.

If you haven’t filed your tax return even now, you still have the time to file a late or belated ITR. An income tax return filed after the due date is known as belated return.

You will have to pay a late filing penalty in case you are filing a belated return. The penalty will be 10,000 as the last date was extended beyond 31 December. Generally, every year the last date for filing income tax return is 31 July of the relevant assessment year. In case you miss the ITR due date, a flat penalty of 5,000 is levied when you file belated returns till 31 December of the assessment year and 10,000 in case return is filed between 31 December and 31 March of the assessment year.

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For small taxpayers with income of up to 5 lakh, a penalty of 1,000 is applicable in case of filing belated ITR till 31 March.

The penalty along with the due tax needs to be paid before you submit your belated ITR. Remember that you can’t escape paying penalty on belated return, irrespective of whether any tax is due or not.

Issues with belated return

Besides paying a penalty, you are also supposed to pay interest on due taxes each month until you file ITR. You will also not be allowed to carry forward certain losses to subsequent years for set-off. “For instance, capital loss that is loss on sale of capital asset and or loss under the head profits and gains of business or profession cannot be carried forward if the return is belated," said Prakash Hegde, a Bengaluru-based chartered accountant.

If any tax refund is due and the ITR is filed within the stipulated time, you can earn interest on the refund claimed. A refund is claimed when excess tax is paid on your income during the year as per Section 244A of the Income-tax Act, 1961. However, in case of belated returns, you may lose some portion of interest that would be due on the refund amount as interest will be paid from the date of filing of return. While in case you file your return within due date, interest on refund due is paid from 1 April.

Remember that if you fail to file your ITR at all, the tax department can send you a notice and it can even lead to prosecution. There is a provision of jail term from three months to two years if you fail to file your ITR. Also, if the due tax is more than 25 lakh, the jail term can be up to seven years.

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